The partners at Gary Gruner Chevrolet, Mike Sacco, left, Gary Gruner and Denny Storey, in front of the new Chevrolet dealership facade that went up in September.The Gary Gruner Chevrolet dealership recently completed more than $500,000 worth of remodeling as part of its agreement with General Motors Corporation.

“It’s a national movement by General Motors called the essential brand elements program. Back when General Motors was eliminating some of its dealerships, it asked the ones it kept to participate in the EBE program,” said Mike Sacco, vice president and one of the owners of the Madras dealership.

GMC wanted a uniform look nationwide, which required extensive remodeling of the approximately 10-year-old Madras building.

Sacco was in charge of the project and said changes included redoing the bathrooms and customer waiting areas, putting new tile throughout the building, making changes to the ceilings and lighting, replacing carpet, adding an aluminum-clad paneling system in some rooms, and having uniform paint throughout the facility.

Large pieces of graphic art, featuring flashy sports cars, car details, and a vehicle driving through a forest, were hung on the walls.

“On the exterior, they have a two-tone color model, with our new big blue tower as the focal point,” Sacco said.

For the remodeling work, Gruner Chevy acted as its own general contractor, but hired local contractors to do the work.

“I really had to press for that,” he said, adding, “The contractors were local, and I mean out of Madras.”

Sacco hasn’t noticed any change in business due to the new look, but noted, “We were blessed with a good business already. We’re outselling our competition locally, and even with our brand (General Motors) we’re outselling Bend.”

As for future plans, Sacco said they plan to expand the service department and are considering establishing an RV facility.

“We just purchased the adjoining three-acre lot,” he said, with that in mind.

GMC’s branding program will continue through 2016, so other changes may be required in the next few years.

“It will probably have something to do with our service department, but with business increasing, we want to expand there anyway,” Sacco said.

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